You probably remember about our last year’s vacation at Hotel Fortuna in Eforie Nord. It was a pleasant stay and, even though there was nothing spectacular about it, we’ve decided to do it again this year. And since the hotel provided us with a good experience and it was close to restaurants & supermarkets, while still decently close to the beach, we had no hesitation to book our stay there. Plus, in the mean time, the hotel also got a reward from a highly valued Trip Advisor-like website in Romania. All was good!
Well, this year… all was not good. We were simply unlucky to get one of what was probably the worst rooms (actually, an apartment) in Hotel Fortuna. They were completely packed and had absolutely not rooms available, they were handing them in to tourists as the previous tourists were leaving and after the fastest possible cleaning was done. The hotel’s reception was filled with angry tourists demanding their rooms at it wasn’t very pleasant. However, this was not necessarily the hotel’s fault: it was about 12 PM and they had a huge sign saying that the check in starts at 6 PM. It’s actually understandable that they do need time to clean up the rooms and since the hotel was fully booked, they really had little to do.
Our apartment was among the first to be ready, but we still had to wait the extra 30 minutes in the lobby simply because the guy at the reception desk forgot to tell us it’s ready. He did apologize, that’s true, but it was still highly unprofessional.
However, that was not the bad thing: the apartment itself was. Although nice and clean, with a small but cozy living room and a huge bedroom, it all went crashing when I found out that there was no air conditioning in the bedroom – just the central air conditioning system in the living room. Actually, there was an air conditioning unit in the bedroom, but no remote control – I tried and there were no buttons to manually turn it on.
I had to make a trip to the reception and ask for the remote control. They guy told me that I don’t need one because there’s central air conditioning in the bedroom as well. I went up to check – I indeed could’ve missed it in the first place as I was tired. It turns out that I wasn’t that tired and indeed the only thing that could provide some fresh air was the a.c. unit that was plugged in.
After another visit to the reception, they still didn’t believe me. They sent a cleaning lady with me to show me how to use the centralized air conditioning system. She was shocked to find out that there was none in the bedroom, as I kept saying. At that moment, I was shocked that two people working at that hotel had no idea how the rooms looked and were like.
We went down to the reception again, for the third time, and this time management was called. Their claim was that the clearly working air conditioning unit in the room (it was plugged in and there was a light indicating that it worked) was part of the “old hotel” and they no longer had the remote controls. They were unusable.
There were no free apartments. And, to make things even worse, there were no apologies. Nobody said they were sorry for this, nobody tried to make us feel better or give us another option. They just informed us about the facts and then kept on doing whatever they were doing.
Normally, I should’ve caused a scene or I should’ve left the hotel to find another place. But the hotel was fully booked until the 4th of September as I later heard at the reception. All other hotels were surely in a similar position. It was, mostly, stay there or go home. And when you’ve just arrived with a three-year-old who kept telling you for the past two weeks “I can’t wait to get to the beach!” you decide to stay there and do it like Romanians do: find a way to make the s**t work.
It was a bad experience and I am sure that most of the people staying at Hotel Fortuna in Eforie Nord will have a pleasant stay, just like we had last year. But we were unlucky to get one of their (probably) worst available apartments and we won’t risk it again with them because if it happens once, it can happen again.
Lessons learned here? Customer service in Romania is still lacking greatly. One of the things that Hotel Fortuna is praised for is how friendly and professional the staff is. That’s something that we have appreciated last year, but this year they were clueless and even though they stayed polite (which you still won’t get in many hotels in Romania), they were unprofessional and not even once said sorry for the entire mess. Also, I’ve also learned that even the most praised hotels have their weak spots and in our case we ended up in one. But fortunately, this wasn’t a holiday breaker and we had a great time at the beach, in the end and our kid never felt any of these problems – and this is all that matters.
However, I personally left with a sour taste in my mouth… but with a nice tan too. It was our last visit to Hotel Fortuna, but fortunately Romania has so many other options (with more and more really impressive hotels being built every year) that we won’t have problems finding even better ones.